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Progressive Adds Michigan To Its Homeowners Rollout.

Progressive Corp. began offering its homeowners product in Michigan in October. It's only the second state chosen by Progressive as a market for its new homeowners coverage, which was rolled out in Arizona in March.

Progressive chose Michigan for the next step in its foray into homeowners coverage because it has a strong homeowners market and a friendly regulatory environment, said Karen Barone, a homeowners product manager for Progressive. Barone also said Michigan was attractive because of cross-selling opportunities with Progressive's auto products. Progressive has been selling auto coverage in Michigan since late 1995.

The homeowners product will be sold through 80 independent agents in Michigan. The agents who were chosen for the inaugural sales were singled out by sales territory managers based on their sales volume and relationship with the company, Barone said. The product had a similar debut in Arizona where 190 agents now sell homeowners coverage. Glenn Renwick, chief executive officer of insurance operations, reported in July that the homeowners line in Arizona had about 500 policyholders and almost no losses.

During the homeowners debut in March, Progressive said by offering the coverage it is adding a sales link that already exists for its auto competitors. The four--State Farm, Allstate, Farmers and Nationwide--control 45% of the homeowners market.

Progressive will be using a software tool created by Marshall & Swift, a building costs and underwriting consulting firm, to help agents guide homeowners who are incorrectly identifying the true replacement cost of their home. The program, Home Profiles, a software tool that prices the individual components of a residence, is incorporated in the agents' quoting software. The program prompts the agent to ask customers about unique characteristics of their homes. For example, it asks whether the interior floors are primarily hardwood or wall-to-wall carpeting and if the kitchen interior contains custom or contractor grade cabinets, Barone said.

Progressive expects to continue the homeowners rollout this year in Maryland and other states yet to be announced. The insurer also plans to sell the product via its direct sales channel this year.
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Title Annotation:Progressive Corp.
Comment:Progressive Adds Michigan To Its Homeowners Rollout.(Progressive Corp.)
Publication:Best's Review
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Dec 1, 2000
Words:341
Previous Article:Digging the Data Mine.
Next Article:New Insurer Focuses on Auto Glass.
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